Start-up brands scoop £50,000 of free agency support in Dragon's Den-style event

Start-up brands with a smorgasbord of business ideas - from bespoke shampoo to premium coffee to kids ready meals - were among those who won free agency support for a year at the live pitching event hosted by Marketing Agencies Association and StartUp Britain.

In a Dragon's Den-style competition this month, 14 start-up brands, selected from 130 entries, pitched their businesses to a panel of marketing agencies in a bid to win a year of free support.

Start-ups pitched for four minutes to a room full of agency people who had to raise their hands to express an interest in working with a company.

Sharing a total of £50,000 worth of free agency services, eight budding start-ups won valuable marketing support:

  • CaféPod (premium instant coffee capsule brand) – WDMP
  • Concoction (bespoke shampoo brand) – The Lounge Group
  • Cornerstone (premium men’s shaving online-only brand)– Elvis
  • Face For Business (telephone answering service) – Initials
  • Honest Brew (direct mail craft beer brand)– Pulse
  • Nanna Kay’s (nutritious ready meals for children) – Geometry
  • Student Grub – (food box delivery service for students) Ignis
  • Tea Huggers – (high quality tea brand) RPM

Start of a relationship

Kay Shearing, co-founder of Nanna Kay's, said: "We've taken the business as far as we can, now we've got the products right, we need to let everyone know how good it is. Luckily, we found someone."

Sarah Todd, chief executive of Geometry, explained the pairing: "From the moment Kay started talking it was clear she had a real vision and purpose for her brand. T think there was definitely an emotional part for me as a mum that really connected with what difference the team are trying to make."

MAA managing director Scott Knox said that pairing up new businesses with agencies right at the start of their journey could be invaluable. "Start-up businesses always assume that good marketing is expensive and something to do when they’re bigger. But get your messaging right from the start, with a well thought out long-term strategy, and it will save you a fortune in the long run."

The third annual "Win an Agency"  event was held at Iris Worldwide's Southbank offices last week.

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